The day after we arrived in Birmingham, my mom and I set out on our journey; we left rather early, mind you - the train left at 7:15am. Love those early morning public transit commutes! We first had to hastily eat breakfast at the Prince Hotel where we were staying and make our way to the train station. Yes, we left Patrick all alone in this big, new city! This was a mother-daughter trip in memory of my Grandmom (who was very proud of her Irish heritage). I was still a bit leery of this whole public transportation business after the past few days, but it was so much easier without the massive suitcases we originally had to lug around.
To sum it up, a few words from my Instagram post that day:
"Public transit is something else. We did everything right, made no mistakes, and it still is confusing and so very tiring. First, we took a taxi from our hotel to New Street Station in Birmingham, took a train to Crewe [England], changed trains for Chester [England, on the boarder of Wales], changed trains again for Holyhead [Wales], walked to the ferry station, took a bus to the ferry, took a ferry across the sea to Dublin, took a bus into Dublin, walked to the train station, took a train to Lansdowne Road, then walked to the Bed & Breakfast. I miss my car."
Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it!
The train ride to Holyhead was... interesting. I briefly talked about it and the return journey in a previous post, but it doesn't hurt to revisit those fond memories. At one of the smaller train stations, a man ran up to the platform with his small dog in his arms and his pants practically at his knees (for the record, I've seen far too many butt cracks since moving here. I can't go out into public without seeing at least one a day. I kid you not. And this was no exception). He spoke rather loudly, and I just knew something was off. It was easy to tell that this man wasn't any kind of mentally stable. [Now, before any readers get all huffy and puffy about people with metal disabilities, trust me when I say that I've had my share of exposure. To put it in my stepmom's words, we can't take in any more crazy - we're full up.] It made for a really awkward train ride for a lot of people, but it hurts my heart that he probably doesn't have the proper medical care that he needs. Anyway, he was talking quite loudly to his sweet little dog named Dottie; there were imaginary people on that train, and I vaguely recall some bodily gas escaping a few times. For the most part, the view, my headphones, and my book were enough of a distraction. The situation became so ridiculous, though, that people just started chuckling to themselves, trying desperately to hide their smiles and suppress their laughs - not in a mean way, but there was nothing else anyone could do. We just had to wait until he got off the train.
|So many tickets to sort through!|
|The train station... I think it was in Chester, England.|
|We knew we were in or close to Wales when the language on the signs started changing!|
|Welsh countryside. Absolutely beautiful.|
|We looked up and there was a castle... just chilling outside our window view!|
|Ah, the sea!|
|I was reading Little Women - the ONLY book I brought with me.|
Eventually, we got to the ferry. I hadn't been on a ferry boat since 2008 when, on an amazing trip with awesome friends, we took a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington, to Victoria, Canada. That ferry was teeny tiny; this one was ginormous!
For real, though. There was a double cafe counter on each end of the ferry (one counter for food, one counter for coffee and such items... on each end), dozens of tables and booths with anywhere from 2 to 6 seats per table on each side spanning the length of the ship. It was huge. But it wasn't holding a candle to the size of the ferry my mom took when she first came to Europe, apparently. I can't even imagine the size of that thing!
We ate lunch on the ferry, sat and read our books, and just generally relaxed and had a good time enjoying each other's company. We did venture up to the deck for some pictures and great views, though. Boy, was it cold and windy up there!
|In the middle of the ocean on a ferry. Aren't the colors gorgeous?!|
|It was a bit windy on deck...|
|... and it reminded us of home! "Oooooooklahoma!"|
|This deserves a bit of an explanation. The guy on the left looked so much like a character of an English television show that Patrick and I love to watch (Conpo on Last of the Summer Wine). I had to take a picture and send it to Patrick!|
|Walking toward our B&B.|
Welcome to Ariel House! My mom chose for us to stay at this adorable bed and breakfast for our stay in Dublin because they have award-winning breakfasts and afternoon tea. I'll just say that on the housing, service, and food fronts, they certainly did not disappoint. We checked into our room and got ready to do a bit of exploring in Dublin!